Travellers lose in village site appeal

Caravans at Lancaster Road, Preesall
Caravans at Lancaster Road, Preesall
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TRAVELLERS have been ordered to clear off a rural site after a planning inspector ruled they had no right to be there.

The group, who are living on land off Lancaster Road, Preesall, had hoped to win permission to stay after taking their fight to a public inquiry.

But councillors have said they are “absolutely delighted” after it was revealed planning inspector Steven Fox had upheld Wyre Council’s decision to refuse planning permission and force them to leave.

The travellers have been living on the site since 2009, and Preesall ward Coun Paul Moon, right, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome, I think it’s the right and proper thing for the community.

“I am confident this decision would be upheld if there was another appeal.

“I hope it never happens again, it’s been terrible for the village of Preesall and for the local residents to have this open greenfield turned into a commercial enterprise overnight.”

The travellers made an emotive appeal at April’s inquiry against Wyre Council’s decision to refuse retrospective planning permission for eight caravan pitches and an enforcement order served upon them to vacate the site within nine months.

They claimed they needed the permanent base for health reasons and to allow their children to continue attending Fleetwood Charity C of E Primary School.

But Mr Fox’s report said although these benefits were “irrefutable”, there were “overriding objections” in terms of the damage the site would cause to the local area, residents’ amenities and its conflict with planning policies.

Mr Fox has now allowed the travellers a further 18 months to clear the site.

Wyre Council chief Peter Gibson shared Coun Moon’s delight at the decision and said he hoped it would deter others from building without planning permission.

He said: “I think it sends out a strong message that you can’t just move onto land, it’s not the way to do it.”